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Healing the Wounds: Overcoming the Trauma of Layoffs and Revitalizing Downsized Organizations by David M. Noer

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1.3. Metaphor of the Surviving Children

Managers and organizational leaders play a vital role in bringing about the emotional release necessary to begin the survivors' healing process after layoff. Their denial must be dealt with before there can be any release. In my experience, confronting denial head-on serves only to reinforce it. Methods that help people reach out to and legitimize their emotions and spiritual feelings are more useful in helping these people to understand the dynamics of their layoff survivor sickness. For example, I find that the metaphor of the surviving children is a compelling way to demonstrate the emotional context of survivor sickness to managers and help them move past denial:

Imagine a family: a father, a mother, ...

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